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Branding for Construction Companies: Part 3 – Essential Public Relations Activities
Once you’ve finalized your construction company logo and your user-friendly website is live, you will be rightly pleased with yourself. Maybe you have already sent out some of your new glossy Capabilities Brochures to interested parties. But don’t think you have time to relax and wait for new orders to come streaming in. Far from it. Strike while the iron is hot and grab all marketing opportunities available to you.
As a newly formed construction company your foundations are far from stable. Even if you have followed all the guidelines and created a great branding and marketing strategy, you must ramp up your efforts to increase brand exposure wherever possible.
So kick-start your public relations activities. No they’re not new and exciting technologies, there are no apps involved, they don’t involve liking and pinning, but here’s a little secret – they really work.
There are two essential public relations activities that you must embark on if you want to win more contracts:
The value of networking is undervalued in many articles about branding and marketing. It may be seen as a tame, traditional approach but it has a high success rate. A large general contractor which needs a sub-contractor is far more likely to approach one they are familiar with than sift through the details of unknown companies in their search for the ideal candidate.
Get your construction company on the radar of your peers by networking. Join the Toronto Construction Association which boasts a membership of over 2200 companies. Approach architectural companies and larger general contractors to introduce your start-up – a concise, well written email is fine so long as you follow up with a phone call. Attend events where other construction companies will be present – get to know the larger companies who may offer you the chance to bid on one of their projects in the future and check out what your competition is up to.
2. Press Releases
Newspapers need news. So make it easy for them by offering them yours. Write press releases and issue to local newspapers and construction media. But be warned that there is an art to writing a press release – same old, same old will just be relegated to the recycling bin. Only newsworthy news deserves to be seen in print. So you need a unique angle to pique a journalist’s interest.
Perhaps your construction company is particularly environmentally friendly. Perhaps you or one of your team has an interesting background that would make a good read. Alternatively consider offering a special Readers’ Offer for a particular newspaper that you think your target market will read. Whatever your pitch, make sure your press release is professionally written and in addition to your news, gives full background details about your company. Use an experienced press release writer if you are serious about getting it spot on.
Handy Tips: The BBB (Better Business Bureau) is a resource utilized by many consumers who want to hire a trustworthy, reliable company which deals with customer complaints fairly. Check out what you need to get BBB accreditation and make sure you get it. People can search for your company by name on the BBB website and check out your rating, and furthermore your company will appear in the general search results for construction companies. So even if someone wasn’t searching specifically for your company, they may find it via the BBB website.
You can also ask your clients to rate you on HomeStars and Handy Canadian - websites designed to capture client feedback about all types of contractors. When new clients wish to hire a contractor, they consult the websites to help them make their final decision. If you’re not on these, your absence could be misconstrued as suspicious. It’s easy to sign up, so get your company registered, ask clients to rate you and keep an eye on your ratings.
Optional Extras: While not a true public relations activity, traditional paid-for newspaper advertising can have the same result as getting press coverage from a press release. If you want guaranteed coverage in local media, the only way is to opt for traditional adverts. Simple but eye-catching adverts will be gentle on your budget, but if you want a big splash to coincide with the launch of your construction company you can pay for an advertorial – normally a good sized advert of at least half or one page, where the visual advert is accompanied by a write-up. Do your sums and see what you can afford. A run of simple, cheaper adverts will increase brand exposure; however a splashy one page spread in a single edition will create more of a stir – but only for the readers of that particular publication.
When launching a start-up, it’s all too easy to focus on glossy, printed materials, websites and the world’s new baby – social media. But old school can also work: networking and effective press releases will definitely bring you more business and brand exposure. By following the guidelines and tips above, your construction company will get the exposure it needs to succeed.